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Adrian Says Liverpool Players 'Defend Everything Like Animals' in Front of Him

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2019

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Adrian of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St Mary's Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian has hailed the team's ability to defend in front of him, making his job much easier. 

Adrian arrived on a free transfer in the summer to replace Simon Mignolet as the No. 2 goalkeeper, but he has been thrust into action after a calf injury to Alisson in the opening Premier League game of the season against Norwich City.

He told Glenn Price for Liverpool's official website of his new team-mates:

"It's really easy to play with them in front of you because, as you say, they were the best defenders in the Premier League [in 2018-19], and we have one of the best defenders in the world.

"I think, for me as a goalkeeper, they make easy decisions. Honestly, they defend everything like animals! They help me a lot."

The Spaniard also noted the forward players are a close-knit group, with their friendship translating onto the pitch.

Liverpool boasted the best defensive record in the Premier League last season, shipping just 22 goals in 38 games, with the arrivals of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson last year transforming their prospects.

At former club West Ham United, Adrian kept 43 clean sheets in 150 appearances. In the 107 matches that he conceded, he let in 215 goals, so he has enjoyed a significant step up in the calibre of his team-mates following his move to Anfield.

Last Wednesday, the 32-year-old saved a penalty from Chelsea's Tammy Abraham to hand Liverpool the UEFA Super Cup in a shootout win against the Blues (U.S. and UK only, respectively):

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

Liverpool and Chelsea played a #SuperCup worthy of two champions 💪 The Reds prevailed in penalties to claim another trophy 🏆🔴 https://t.co/ZmSAXahHDY

He dedicated the victory to the injured Alisson: "Maybe he was not personally there, but his help was there with us in Istanbul."

Adrian also revealed that he slept with the trophy, which is the first honour of his career.

As football writer Zach Lowy observed, the goalkeeper has come a long way in a short space of time after being released by West Ham at the end of last season:

Zach Lowy @ZachLowy

Two weeks ago, Adrián was a free agent, training with a semi-pro Andalusian side that plays in the Spanish sixth division. Today, at 32, he wins the 1st trophy of his professional career, saving Tammy Abraham's penalty to win the 2019 UEFA SuperCup for Liverpool. What a story.

Zach Lowy @ZachLowy

So many dominoes had to fall for Adrián to achieve this moment. Loris Karius deciding to remain on loan at Besiktas, Kamil Grabara joining Huddersfield on loan, Simon Mignolet randomly joining Club Brugge during the final weeks of the window, and Alisson’s injury vs. Norwich.

His penalty save was also celebrated by manager Jurgen Klopp, who paid tribute to him with an impromptu Rocky Balboa impression (UK only):

Adrian enjoyed the joke:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Nobody. Absolutely not a soul. Jurgen Klopp: https://t.co/BZzG4hwm8O

"In my time at West Ham many people called me like this. My name is funny to do this joke.

"The manager was great in that moment. Everyone was happy, smiling in that situation, and the manager had a great moment."

The stopper was brought back down to earth somewhat on Saturday, when he gifted Danny Ings a goal in Liverpool's 2-1 win at Southampton.

The goalkeeper—who was injured by a pitch-invading fan after the Super Cup—had little recovery time between the game against Chelsea, which did not finish until after midnight in Turkey, and the away trip to St. Mary's Stadium.

As such, he can perhaps be forgiven for the slip in concentration that saw him pass the ball straight to the striker at close range.

He'll need to keep those errors to a minimum until Alisson is back, though, but at least the Reds defence will afford him plenty of protection in the meantime.